Just like that, TJ has given up on his pacifier. I was one of those moms who was very firm that my child would not use a pacifier. I hadn’t done much research on this issue to come up with an informed decision but knew enough that dependency on anything would mean breaking that dependency down the road and I wasn’t going to set my child up for stressors of that nature. I had read about nipple confusion as a result of pacifiers, how the habit would be really hard to break, balked at the sight of 4-5 year olds still holding on to pacifiers while silently wishing them no dental issues, and generally decided that pacifiers are evil.
Then, at the hospital, when my son was returned to me after his circumcision, there perched on his little bassinet was the unmistakable Avent green color newborn soothe. At the time, I didn’t think much of it and figured if that was the only way to calm the pain of the procedure, then so be it.
Once back home, TJ had a lot tummy and gas issues (see other posts for how I coped with that) which would make him cry a LOT, squirming around in discomfort. As a parent, I could only watch, helplessly, while trying to browse all the literature and products out there that could potentially alleviate his pain. One some such occasions, just to well…pacify him, I introduced the Paci into his mouth and that brought temporary relief.
For a very short time, like 2 days, we had a nanny, who despite my saying not to use a Paci, did so to get J to sleep. Because he had been crying and that was the only way to get him to sleep, I let it slide. However, since then, resorting to using the Paci became my default crutch. I was careful not to use it throughout the day.
As a Paci became a regular tool of soothing for us, we were careful to only use it for sleep times, at naps and bed times, for travel in airplanes, and for stroller rides when he would get extremely fussy. Most other times, he was thankfully, easily distractible and didn’t need a paci.
On February 17, after I kissed him good night and left the room, as is routine, I was watching him on the video monitor to make sure he was peacefully asleep. Within a few minutes, he got up from his bed, yanked the Paci off his flannel night suit and placed it on the crib’s railing. The previous afternoon, at nap time, he had done the same thing but at the time, I didn’t think much of it since naps are of a shorter duration. This time, however, he was done with the Paci for good. He placed the Paci there and never went back. The next day and the day after, I was sure to heap praises on him for becoming a big boy and giving up his Paci.
We had been telling him for a while now that Santa was going to come in and take them away for babies who needed them and since he was a big boy, he didn’t need them any more. He seemed to have processed that to some extent as he showed a grasping of that idea. We also read him, “Pacifiers aren’t forever”, a book a good friend lent us after his daughter finally gave up her blinky at around 3 years of age on and off for a couple months in November and December and I had just picked it up again two days prior to his giving it up on his own.
In the end, I am not quite sure what worked. To be honest, we didn’t do anything exceptionally out of our way to help him get rid of it. Perhaps it was a good thing that we never used it all the time during he day to begin with. Even at night time, once he fell asleep, he never cared for it.
We’re glad it happened in its own without threats, tears, deceptive stories, or such other conditions. My baby is growing up and surely he senses that in some way. He knows he is going to be a big brother really soon. Maybe, that sense of responsibility is already getting essentialized in him – that of being a good role model, a good big brother.